A curious pelican, a lively jumping spider and a stern burrowing owl are the winning wildlife in the “Go Wild” Digital Photography Contest, hosted this summer by U.S. Army Reserve Sustainability Programs.
Donald Nead received top honors for his photograph “Looking at You.” Nead is a former Army Reserve Master Sergeant and is currently the Range Safety Officer at Fort Hunter Liggett, California. Nead said that he has been interested in photography since childhood. When he captured “Looking at You,” he was in the right place at the right time. “[I was] walking around Moro Bay, California when this young pelican was staring down from a light post,” he said. Nead has also photographed a Shiras moose, a gray wolf, a Pacific rattlesnake and a bald eagle – to name only a few of his subjects.
“Little Wonders” by Eneilis Mulero was also a winner. Mulero has been a Civilian volunteer at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico since 2013 and assists primarily with the Puerto Rican boa management and conservation program. Since she has been pursuing her Master’s Degree in biology from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, she has gained a keen interest in photography. Mulero especially enjoys macro, or close, photography “where you can observe details of small species and thus perceive them in a unique, beautiful way.” Spiders have become one of her favorite models. “I was monitoring snakes in the field when I noticed a little spider jumping on a leaf,” Mulero recalled about the day she captured “Little Wonders.” She recognized the arachnid as a Salticidae, commonly known as a jumping spider. According to Mulero, jumping spiders are small but voracious predators that can be distinguished by the complicated arrangements of their eyes. They have elaborate vision and can perceive more colors than humans can perceive. “I hope this photo may give an interesting perspective of these creatures,” she said.
Michael Strauss’ “Keep Away” was selected as a winner as well. Strauss is a contracted Environmental Protection and Compliance Specialist at Parks Reserve Forces Training Area (PRFTA) in California. Strauss became fascinated with the art of photography when he was a young boy watching his father work with cameras, and that fascination has remained steady throughout his life. His well-trained eye helped him spot the subject for “Keep Away.” “I was across the street from the environmental office at Parks when I saw a burrowing owl perched on the sign meant to protect them,” Strauss explained. “I found it amusing, so I snapped a few pictures.” Strauss said that he has used “Keep Away” in publications and flyers about the PRFTA environmental program.
The “Go Wild” Digital Photography Contest was held to observe World Environment Day and increase community awareness about the unique flora and fauna managed at Army Reserve Installations, Regional Support Commands and Mission Support Command. The three winners were chosen from 115 entries by a panel of seven judges comprised of sustainability and environmental quality personnel from the Army Reserve Installation Management Directorate.
“Looking at You” by Donald Nead